May 7, 2008
STATE REP. JUAN CANDELARIA DENOUNCES
LACK OF MINORITY JUDGES IN THE STATE
State Representative Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven) today took a strong stand in the House Chamber to echo concerns and express dissatisfaction with the judicial nominating process while debating various house resolutions confirming judicial appointments to Connecticut's courts.
Since 2005, over 30 newly appointed judges have been submitted for confirmation by Governor M. Jodi Rell, but only two or less than 7% are of African-American or Latino descent. Earlier this month, Black and Latino lawmakers asked the governor's office for an opportunity to discuss their concerns and are still waiting for an answer. The Connecticut Minority Supplier Development Council and the NAACP have also expressed interest in this matter.
"I find it very difficult to believe that we don't have enough qualified minority attorneys capable of getting nominated for this important job," Candelaria said. "We have to engage in recruiting and providing equal access to the many talented Latino and African American prospects. If given the chance, I am sure they could very well make it through the finish line, so that we may see more diversity within this important government branch. I urge dialogue to resolve this issue."
According to recent statistics from the American Bar Association, there are only seventeen African Americans and five Latino judges in the state of Connecticut.
The Legislative Black and Latino Caucus and the NAACP have written letters to the governor expressing their concerns on this issue. They have requested a meeting with Governor Rell to "discuss meeting the goal of nominating qualified candidates to the judicial branch that also represents the demographics of the state of Connecticut."
Juan Candelaria was elected to office in 2002 representing the 95th Assembly District in the House of Representatives. He is Assistant Majority Leader and a member of the Appropriations and Regulations Review Committees and Vice Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.